New MHSAA requirement ensures mental health training for coaches

WEST MICHIGAN -- Coaches from all sports across the state of Michigan will have a new weapon in their arsenal to help their student-athletes be successful not only on the field, but especially off of it.

It's the result of a new collaboration with the Michigan High School Athletic Association and the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan.

With the help of some of the biggest names in Michigan college sports, the high school athletic association is tackling mental health, head on.

In fact, it`s now a part of every high school coach`s annual certification training.

"So, the coaches are going to be required to take this fifteen minute training, this module, and then take a quiz at the end. And then we are looking that they`ll be implementing this in every day with their experiences in their sports and what they`re going to be coaching", said Christy Buck, executive director with the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan.

There are 4 steps to this be nice action plan for coaches, with nice used as an acronym for notice, invite, challenge and empower.

The plan encourages coaches to notice changes in their athletes, start a conversation with them, it challenges them to be mental health advocates, and empowers them to be protectors of their athletes.

Shawn McManus is the football coach at Holland High School.

"Well I think that a coach in today`s world has two sides to him. He has a side that person that yes is driving the athlete to become the best possible athlete that they can be. But you also have that side that tells that athlete that you care about them. That you care about their future. That you care about them as a person and that you want success for them personally as well as athletically."

"So thirty thousand coaches in the state of Michigan will be accessing their meeting this particular module and will be trained. So it`s exciting and again it`s not rocket science," Buck said.

And the goal is simple, save lives.

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